Saturday, July 31, 2010
Barack Obama's Greatest Shame
One of the most controversial decisions made to date by the administration of Barack Obama has been a plan to scale back manned space flight -- even musing about cancelling the Constellation Program, which would be key to sending astronauts back to the moon, or possibly even to Mars.
While a great deal can be accomplished through mechanized space flight, nothing perfectly substitutes human presence in scientific endeavours.
Challenger: Go For Launch chronicles another misstep in the history of the US Space program -- the decision to launch the Challenger despite a lingering O-ring program. The results speak for themselves -- Challenger exploded in mid-air, killing all the astronauts on board.
The legacy of those killed on board the Challenger is a noble one -- that of men and women whose lives were cut short while reaching for the kinds of knowledge one can only attain through spaceflight.
The legacy of Barack Obama's administration may well be that of abandoning this noble quest in favour of dubious ideological pseudo-diplomacy.
It will be to Obama's shame if he chooses to cut NASA off at its knees.